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June 3, 2015

Jordan Spieth


DOUG MILNE:  Jordan Spieth, thanks for joining us for a few minutes prior to the start of the 2015 Memorial tournament.  We appreciate your time, making your third consecutive start here in Dublin.  Obviously off to a tremendous season.  I'll save us all a lot of time and not recap everything, but suffice it to say great season.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Thank you.
DOUG MILNE:  A couple of comments on being here this week.
JORDAN SPIETH:  I'm excited to be here, one of my favorite courses, and one of our favorite stops on Tour through the year.  It's a little break, a little less going on.  Relaxed.
The course is in pristine shape.  The caddies say they've been here five plus years, and the only time they've seen the course look like this was the week leading up to The Presidents Cup before we got hammered with that rain.  It's as good as it's ever been.  It looks so good.  It looks like it might be single digits if the greens get firm and faster that wins this golf tournament.
I really like those courses.  I've got to work different ball flights and be a magician on the greens.  It's going to take full golf this week.

Q.  In Texas, you talked about you and Michael met after Doral.  You had a long meeting.  Who initiated that and was the end result of it that he was just going to be a little more assertive during the rounds?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I initiated it.  It was actually‑‑ we were going to meet, but it ended up being a phone call.  Given the timing of the week, we didn't get over to Tampa until‑‑ because I played in Ernie Els' autism event, so it was easier to have a phone call.  I initiated it to be a little more assertive, and it resulted in a win that week.

Q.  And how much of a coincidence or is there a correlation between whatever was said in that phone call and the run that you've gone on since then?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I think our partnership has certainly improved a little bit.  I think we were trending upwards, anyways.  I was still getting my feet wet for the year, it was my 4th or 5th event, and obviously prepping for a big stretch of events leading into the Masters with courses I was familiar with and that I had played well in the past.  So it was a combination.  It certainly wasn't just off of that.  It wasn't anything that was very far off.  It was just trying to have our conversation during the round on the weekends maybe be a little bit different and it has been.  And it certainly led to success in that month stretch, there.
But it wasn't ‑‑ I wouldn't‑‑ it wasn't a big deal.  It was just‑‑ these little things that happened, this is what I'd like to hear from you.  This is where I'd like you to make a more stronger push to what you think is the best option and I'll listen to you.  And sometimes I'll wave you off and then it's on me.

Q.  Since we're on Michael, how much of an advantage do you see in playing at Chambers Bay as it relates to what seems to be the theme, all these options that you're going to have as a golfer?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I don't think much.  That's what Michael has been saying, too.  Nothing against him.  To be honest, you know, the only advantage is that he's seen the course more than any of the other caddies has.  A lot of the players have already seen it more than I have.  He's also‑‑ U.S. Amateur, he can look back on.  The course has changed since then, but that's as difficult as the course has played.
But I'm interested to see.  I don't really know.  But according to Michael, you know, he's going to help me on certain things.  But it's not like a major advantage, necessarily.  But it is going to be cool to have some of his friends and family out there.  It will be a cool experience for us.  And he's definitely going to come to the plate with more than the other guys can bring.

Q.  What is your mindset on the courses, the links courses?  How do you prepare for them?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I love them.  One of the main things I've been working on in the last two weeks in getting ready for the U.S. Open is trying to create a stock draw from it.
A lot of times Cameron and I will work on producing different ball flights, different heights and working it both ways throughout the golf course, whatever that hole entails.  We've worked more into getting a nice, exact draw that I can really trust under pressure leading into these.  And that goes into‑‑ it was kind of initiated by me.
I felt like my best golf is played when my normal swing is producing a five, six, seven‑yard draw.  And in order to fade it, I can just kind of saw it off.  I play great golf in the wind like that because it's a lot easier shot for me than trying to maneuver the ball different ways and judging how the wind is going to carry it.  I can stick with one ball flight.
And then under pressure, I just feel more comfortable driving the ball with that ball flight.  So that work has been done.
Around Augusta I was actually hitting it pretty straight, maybe almost a stock fade.  I could turn if right‑to‑left, but not much.  But these courses are going to be a little different.  And I feel like my best ball‑striking weeks are when I have this tiny little draw working.

Q.  (Inaudible).
JORDAN SPIETH:  I played the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, and I played a couple of practice rounds at Chambers, then we played stroke play on Chambers at the home course is what the other course was called, and I shot like 83 or something on Chambers.  I didn't really see much of it.  Actually I saw a lot of it; I didn't see much of the places I want to see.

Q.  Stan said it's kind of a course that has nuances that kind of reveal themselves.  What were your first impressions when you played it?
JORDAN SPIETH:  It was a course where I didn't really know where to hit it.  You trust the caddies, but at the same time I hadn't had much experience trusting caddies in the UK.  I'm sitting there going, there's no way.  And it's one of those courses that after I get a couple more rounds on it, I'll really understand it more and appreciate it more than I do.  It's kind of‑‑ from the little bit of talking I've done to other players, they think it's similar to Augusta in that fact that you just learn more and really appreciate the subtleties of the golf course the more you play it, which is rare to find.
So I'm excited to get out there.  I know the course, the ending score is going to be completely dependent on conditions.  And learning to pick the spots is going to be tough getting there Monday morning, but I'm going to have to do as much as I can, and play a practice round with guys that know the course very well.

Q.  What are some favorite things about this golf course?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I remember sitting down at lunch with Mr. Nicklaus last year.  He pulled me aside and wanted to sit down.  We were talking about a couple of things.  He was saying how much he appreciated that I was there.  And I said it's an honor to come here, and it's one of my favorite stops.
A couple of things specifically about the course, the greens are arguably tied for first or second only to Augusta National as far as speed and how pure they are consistently each year.  I love putting on greens where you have to have imagination, you have to play these ridges, speed control is so vital.
And then I enjoy the ball‑striking part of this course where these pins are located normally three times.  They're located pretty close to each other, and if you hit a really good tee shot, you're set up to feed into these holes.  You can have really short birdie putts and you'll see some eagles out here, given that the greens are so fast, they'll just speed off the side and roll down.  But if you get yourself out of position off the tee, and all of a sudden you're left‑‑ you can't really take much of a chance because then you get above the hole and you're out of it.
So premium on positioning off the tee, and then imagination putting.  And I enjoy those aspects of Muirfield.

Q.  So Jordan, you get consistently high marks for being open and honest with the press.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Thank you.

Q.  What is your approach to the media?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I think I'm very fortunate to have you guys in an honest ‑‑ and a media that really looks out for us.  And I've never really seen anything that's twisted or turned the other way, like I think a lot of other sports have.  I think that maybe it's just on me.  Maybe it happened and other people think that way.
But for me, you guys are easy to talk to.  It's easy for me to open up.  I want to help explain kind of how I go about things and share my story and get it out there and my brand and understand.  And I feel like it's put in the right light each time something is written, at least the feedback I hear.  Because I try really not to watch much, no offense.

Q.  You mentioned the word brand, so how would you describe your brand?
JORDAN SPIETH:  A little bit of the edgy‑‑ it's perfect with who we've aligned with.  So you get some brands that are youthful, athletic, edgy in a good way.  Just Rickie's edgy in a good way; that's who he is, young and confident.
And then I've got the other brands, other brands aligned with that are more classic, been there for a while, Great American brands, and even locally based brands that kind of tie it back to kind of the Texas kind of theme that I like to have.  That's just kind of who I am, I'm a proud Texan.  So I've got a little bit of both, I think.

Q.  You talked about obviously creating a stock draw, and it's a more comfortable shot for you.  Was there something between Augusta and now that led you to make that kind of decision or was it just something that had been in your head and now was the time to do it?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, where was I before?  So I went into the match play and PLAYERS, I wasn't striking the ball particularly well in my longer clubs, my mid‑irons to really like a 3‑wood.  I just wasn't finding the middle of the face very much, because I was trying to do too much with each shot.
I played great at match play and I didn't take anything negative from that week.  But at the PLAYERS, I was just trying to do a little much in the wind, put myself in some tough positions, because I was playing the wrong shots, approach shots and tee shots.  And I was out of a lot of the holes.  And that's what kind of led me to it thinking I really struggled in the wind here not feeling like I could comfortably work this punch draw, whether it's into a left‑to‑right breeze and it holds it or it's even riding it sometimes.
And when you look back at some footage from some of my best ball‑striking days I've had as a professional, where was my swing there, what did I like about the way I was striking it, what did I feel I could do to get back into the impact‑‑ into impact hitting the middle of the face without thinking about it too much.  And this is what we came up with.

Q.  So really it was more of a simplification of your shot making?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, exactly.  Yeah, having something I know I can trust instead of trying to work on something to get a certain straight flight.
For me, I grew up playing a natural little draw.  And then in order to hit a fade, I just kind of saw it off a little bit and it's simple for me to do so.  This is nothing like crazy.  It's not like a big change or anything, this is just I think for the U.S. Open for right now and for these tournaments in the windier conditions.  I don't know if we'll have that at Chambers, but it's a British Open style course, I would feel more comfortable playing a draw ball flight.

Q.  People talk about when they win a major, their life gets crazy.  And watching you the last month, it seems like for you nothing's changed.  But for the team, the people around you, their lives seem like they've gotten crazy.  Can you speak to what you've seen everyone from Cameron to Jordan and Jay and your family, the stuff that they've been having to face and what they're willing to do so that your life does not change in any meaningful way?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, my team has stepped up to the plate.  They've really made things easy.  Nothing has changed with me.  It doesn't seem to me that much has changed for them, either, other than more of a recognition and maybe more people asking for their time, and of course whether they're asking for their time or asking for mine through them.
So the hardest part I guess is learning‑‑ I guess the hardest part has been‑‑ Jay and Jordan, they've always done a great job of making things easy for me to get the job done on the course.  And we do what we think is the right move off the course, whether it's giving time to media or whether it's‑‑ when we schedule our days or obligations for our sponsors.  And they've done a great job of being able to‑‑ they're already trained at saying no.

Q.  We know that.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Right.  So the hardest part is the rest of the team who haven't had to deal with it before.  And I haven't noticed much, which means they've done a great job of it.  It may be tricky at times for them with people that they know well asking for time and they just can't give it because they don't have it.
But that's the adaptation, and that's something that I think they all wanted to have.  This was all of our goals to be in this position and to continue to be in this position.  And everyone has done a fantastic job with it, and I'm blessed for the team that we have.

Q.  Can you very quickly give an example of someone trying to get to you through family?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I wouldn't go specifics.

Q.  Is it people you've known a long time or‑‑
JORDAN SPIETH:  Certain cases, and certain cases it's not.  And people going through my‑‑ say my parents saying, hey, we've got this charity we're involved in, can Jordan offer up a golf day that's going to sell for $25,000, $30,000 to go to this charity.  Well, that's great.  And that's fantastic.  Can my foundation donate, instead, because I can't get the time.  That kind of stuff.
And it's easy for me to say that now because I've been trained by Jordan and Jay.  But for my family and even for guys like Cam, Damon, Troy, I can imagine that can be tough saying, hey, sorry, I don't think he can do that.  I'm not even going to bring it to them.  Because most of the stuff isn't even brought to me, because they just understand the obligations that I already have and the little time that I do have to just be me, right, and to just hang out and practice and get ready for the next week.
So it's not changed significantly.  And I haven't noticed much of it, but whatever has happened has been handled really well.

Q.  I know how young you are, but you're playing at an unbelievable pace, all these tournaments.  Can you keep this up, do you think you're going to have to rethink it at some point?
JORDAN SPIETH:  I'm fine.  I've played a lot this year.  I've got a break coming up soon.  The rest of the year will be‑‑ if you're going to put it in a ratio, it will be less than I've been playing this whole year.  And then before we know it, The Presidents Cup will be here and then I've got off‑season stuff to consider, and where I want to go and cool places I want to go see.
But, yeah, I have no problem with it.  I felt great this year.  Only a couple of times have I felt a little worn out, say Hilton Head maybe for a little bit.  And that's about it.  This week, the first couple of days, yesterday, Monday I was a little worn out just off of purely long weeks last week.
But I've gotten back and ready to play this week, and my game felt great yesterday.  It felt great today.  And I'm striking the ball better than I did the last two weeks.  So I don't see much of an issue with it.  I'm young, don't have my own family obligations.  And I love to play the game.  So I don't see that necessarily changing anytime soon.

Q.  Pretty obvious‑‑ why does golf make you happy?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Why does golf make me happy?  Because I'm good at it (laughter).
I enjoy working at something that is impossible to conquer.  I enjoy that challenge because each time you get closer and closer to conquer it, you get those rounds that you're in the zone and you're firing on all cylinders and in contention, and you feel your blood going like you're skydiving.  I love for the thrill of it.  That's the fun part to see how you can react in those situations, how you can control your heart rate and produce even better shots than when it wasn't there.
And that's the hardest thing and the coolest thing about golf.  I didn't really get that much in team sports because you're relying on other people to help you out, as well.  I liked being able to control my own destiny, control my own emotions, and see if I can perform better.

Q.  (Inaudible) and it looks like Jordan is parading himself or whatever, I'm guessing that's not really an awful feeling, either.  But is it a choice to be happy?  Is it a skill to stay happy while you're playing?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's something that I think you have to work for in this game.  Sometimes it comes easily, when you get those rounds.  But then the majority of times‑‑ I think‑‑ I can't remember whose quote it was, but one of the great legends of the game, you guys may be able to help me with this, said a great day of golf is hitting three shots exactly how you wanted to hit them.

Q.  Hogan?
JORDAN SPIETH:  Hogan.  And that's a great way to hit it.  You hit in a single digit number about of perfect shots, the way you wanted to see them in a round of golf.  And the rest of it is controlling how to produce those shots each time and how to react when it doesn't go that way.
So I don't smile a ton on the golf course.  Here and there I do.  I try to have as much fun as I can, but I'm a competitor and I grind.  And I'm not the best ball‑striker, so it's not always easy for me, the easiest.  Some of these guys are fairway, green, get on the green and try and work your way.  I can see how it might be more fun like that.  A lot of times I'm scrambling my butt off and trying to get it done for the next hole.
Yeah, I think it's something you need to work on.  I wouldn't say put it in perspective.  Yes, this is a dream come true, and a lot of people want to be in the position that we're in, but we're here to play for that thrill, for that grind.  And so I'm not going to sit back and just smile when things aren't going my way, I'm going to be upset and figure out what I'm going to do get over it, I'm going to go on to the next hole and try and then make myself a little happier then.
DOUG MILNE:  Jordan, as always we appreciate your time.
JORDAN SPIETH:  Appreciate it.

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